South Korea’s cryptocurrency push into the mainstream

A number of South Korean technology companies have announced large bids to incorporate cryptocurrencies into other platforms involved with mobile payment services.

The most recent announcement, reported by CNN, details a promising partnership between crypto-exchange Bithumb and mobile payments provider Korea Pay, signalling a race by the country’s technology firms to reach the forefront of cryptocurrency development.

According to reports, the new partnership aims to incorporate cryptocurrencies into the working of over 8,000 outlets by the end of 2019. This will also come alongside around 200 brands who also want to join the cryptocurrency hype and utilise the payment methods by allowing users to pay for products with the currency.

At a time when the cryptocurrency debate splits opinion into almost two polar opposite camps, this shows promising developments that bring the world of cryptocurrencies into the everyday working sphere. It also serves as a response to increasing advertisement bans by social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Google, highlighting a well-thought-out resistance to the attempted regulations.  The South Korean news, alongside recent reports from the G20 meetings in Argentina where ministers considered a future where mainstream banking systems must work alongside cryptocurrencies, promoting an alternative perspective where developing relationships now, might eventually prove beneficial.

Bithumb advertises itself as the safest cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea and trades in all the major currencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple and Litecoin as well as many others. It was reported by CoinTelegraph that the exchange’s partner, Korea Pay ‘handles payments for more than 200 franchise-based offline merchants, generating brokerage services of 300 bln won ($279 mln) annually.’ The partnership follows a string of other relationships such as Bithumb joining up with WeMakePrice, a South Korean e-commerce website that began integrating twelve cryptocurrencies into its platform at the beginning of this year.

Amidst a tumultuous setting where the key currencies are currently tracking a decline in value, South Korea, on the other hand, appears to be channelling hope into a positive future where cryptocurrencies function in everyday transactions. This also comes alongside the announcement, again by CNN, that two-fifths of millennials in South Korea are looking to invest into Bitcoin according to the Bank of Korea.  Unlike China, who have implemented a number of regulations that curb cryptocurrencies to the point that exchanges had to move off the mainland, South Korea and Japan have taken a more open approach to technology developments. Pitted as Asia’s fourth biggest economy, South Korea is often noted for its forward-thinking social approaches, often alluding the country as ten years ahead the rest of the world.

About the author

Tamara Davison

The Medellin-based Mancunian started her journalism career in a London startup and has since travelled around the globe covering arts and culture news, as well as climbing the Himalayas and being lost in remote places. She claims her knowledge of Bitcoin is a healthy obsession that she picked whilst studying the fascinating repercussions new technology has around the world.

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